RFID adoption in Japan has long been stifled by its selection of the 952 – 957 MHz band for RFID, while the rest of the world allocates either 865 – 868 MHz (EU, India) or all/part of the band from 902 – 928 MHz (all other regions). Japan’s unique band designation required custom RFID readers, antennas, and tag antenna designs for optimal performance – and without a larger geographic market justifying the product investment, Japan had relatively few high-performing RFID options and ultimately slower RFID technology adoption.
Fortunately, some wise leaders in Japan recently took action to reorganize the band, moving RFID to 915 – 928 MHz and enabling the country to benefit from greater global alignment. Some unique elements to Japan’s radio-frequency (RF) plan remain, including a very tough spurious emission limit in the adjacent band. However, the single act of moving RFID from the 955 MHz to 920 MHz band has removed the largest barrier to RFID adoption in Japan. This change took effect on July 25, 2012, and the benefits were immediately apparent.
Responding to this change, Impinj worked closely with our Japanese distributor to make sure that our popular Speedway Revolution reader was certified to the new Japanese regulations prior to July 25 and this effort quickly paid off. Japanese partners seemed to be eagerly waiting to use Speedway Revolution with many of the newly-applicable reader antennas and Monza-based RFID tags for solutions with better read rates, longer read ranges, and high read and write reliability. RFID deployments have been growing ever since!
European Union Considers 915 – 921 MHz Band
Perhaps even more exciting is what the success of the Japan RF reorganization may mean for other efforts underway. The European Union has proposed a plan that would allow RFID equipment to operate in the 915 – 921 MHz band, finally enabling the same RFID reader systems and tags to operate with similar performance worldwide. I’m sure this would be welcome news to multi-national organizations considering large, global deployments of RFID solutions, and would be another RFID adoption barrier removed for overall market growth.